The Gravesites of our Founding Fathers

How many times have you visited another city and scanned the historical sites in that city to see “Benjamin Franklin’s Gravesite” or “Thomas Jefferson’s Gravesite.”  Maps are specifically marked and sometimes described in detail with the location of the Gravesite.   Why would anyone visit the gravesite where only dry bones and tattered clothing remain inside a decayed wooden box?   That is precisely why I want to address the issue of cremain scattering.  I was speaking to a history teacher recently and she brought this issue up with me.

Along Boston’s Freedom Trail, visitors will encounter 3 cemeteries including the Granary Burying Ground where three signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried:  Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine.  What is so significant about the cemeteries is not their simple gravemarkers (most are very simple with only names and dates) or even the not so well-manicured grounds (most consist of almost no grass at all).  The fact that these people had a significant part of our lives is why we visit their gravesites.  History came full circle from the minute these people were born all the way to the day they died.  The gravesite is a reminder of that life so significantly lived centuries ago.  Nothing more, nothing less.

 When we scatter the cremains (cremated remains or ashes), there no longer exists a gravesite.  I know what most of you say because I hear it all the time.  “He or she loved the mountains, ocean, etc.”  or “Those were her or his wishes.” 

 I love that we live in a country with so many choices.  Scattering is a choice but do not choose that as an option only because of cost.  Centuries from now, can you assume that others will not desire to visit your gravesite?  To assume this is to have false humility explaining you were not significant enough.   If your surviving relatives are all very clear that your significant life will be clearly displayed in the ocean, mountains, etc., scattering is definitely a great option!

“A nation that forgets its past has no future.”  Winston Churchill

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3 Comments

Filed under The Gravesites of Our Predecessors

3 responses to “The Gravesites of our Founding Fathers

  1. Luke

    After visiting George Washington’s gravesite at Mt. Vernon I realized what a great experience it was to be there. I thought about all the accomplishments he achieved and about my history as an American. It was a beautiful monument with oblisks and in a forest type setting. I was able to look at this person and take the good from his life. I’m glad his remains weren’t scattered to be lost forever.

  2. When I visit old graveyards, I love reading the epitaphs and thinking about their achievements also. I guess we could even set gravestones into the ground even if there was no remains, cremated or otherwise.

  3. Mike

    I recently visited the graves of my parents and grandparents plus many other relatives buried in the same cemetary. While I do not believe their spirits were there; the visit allowed me to visit their memory in an intimate way. Like cherishing a favorite photo of a deceased relative; visiting their grave is even more tangible in honoring our relationship with them.

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